NEW YORK, NY (April 8, 2010) Autism Speaks, the nations largest autism advocacy organization, today joined with Delaware families, Autism Delaware, and other autism advocacy organizations to announce its support for Senate Bill 204, the autism insurance reform bill. The legislation would require private health insurance companies to cover the screening, diagnosis, testing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Sponsored in the Delaware State Senate by State Senator Liane Sorenson, SB 204 includes coverage of behavioral health treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based, medically-necessary autism therapy. The bill applies to individuals diagnosed with autism up to age twenty-one and requires coverage for ABA therapy up to $50,000 per year.
We applaud and thank Senator Sorenson for her leadership on this issue of critical concern to thousands of Delaware families, said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president for programs and services. Autism Speaks joins Delawares autism community in calling on the legislature to pass SB 204 and join the growing number of states that have ended healthcare discrimination against children with autism.
Most states do not require private insurance companies to cover even essential autism treatments and services. In the absence of coverage, families often pay as much as they can out-of-pocket for services that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year. In the process, many risk their homes and the educations of their unaffected children essentially mortgaging their entire futures.
Fifteen states Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin have enacted autism insurance reform legislation. Several other state legislatures will vote on similar legislation during the current 2010 session.